Baroque in the City

Baroque in the City

With 10 projects centred around visual arts, 22 musical projects - good for more than 50 concerts in total - 12 theatre and music-theatre productions, 3 new city walks, several lecture series, 4 festivals within the festival, a series of Baroque-Antwerp regional products and one major festive opening weekend, the Antwerp art sector engages the dialogue between the historical and contemporary Baroque.

Table of Contents

  1. Visual Arts
  2. Music
  3. Theatre, music theatre and dance
  4. Walks
  5. Lectures
  6. Festival
  7. Rubens inspires Antwerp artisans


1. Visual Arts

Jan Fabre

In 1628, the Antwerp trinity of Rubens, Jordaens and Van Dyck received the assignment from the Augustinian monks to make altarpieces for their cloister church in the Kammenstraat. This year, Jan Fabre is receiving the same honour upon the occasion of Antwerp Baroque 2018. The former Augustinian church is now the reception and music centre AMUZ.

Fabre explores not only the Baroque Augustinian iconography in his interpretation of the altarpieces, which must lead the believer to the saint, but also uses the three modern-day functions that the AMUZ now fulfils as a point of departure: that of a concert hall, a reception and business affairs' centre as well as a recording studio. With ' The Monastic Performance', 'The Mystic Contract' and 'The Ecstatic Recording' respectively, he adds to each of these aspects from his personal language of images. He translates - or rather 're-tells' - the altarpieces of Jordaens, Van Dyck and Rubens in the language of 2018 and frames them in their contemporary context; however, without wanting to make a one-to-one comparison with the originals.

Originating from various collage drawings, there are a condensed communion of core elements from Fabre's total oeuvre, such as the lamb, fire, woman, spirituality and his love for Antwerp, represented by the motif of the diamond. They also cause the viewer to pause and provide him grounding points for his reflection about the space in which he finds himself. Just as with the Augustinian monks enter into a relationship with the believers in order to grant them access to the mystic wedding (Rubens' wedding of the Holy Catharina) via the way of contemplation (Van Dyck's Agustinus) and the martyrdom (Jordaens' Apollonia), Fabre enters into a relationship with the visitor of the AMUZ in order to be ignited with him in the holy fire of art.

Jewel Scarab
The material form that he devised for his alternative interpretations also deserves attention. Fabre opted for the wing cases of the jewel scarab as a pictorial technique in order to give shape to his allegories. He first used this technique in the Hall of Mirrors of the Royal Palace, where he transformed the ceiling into a Heaven of Delight. The pictorial effect of the material in the wing case of the jewel scarab maintains a balance between mosaic and classic oil paint. These wing cases each have a completely different intensity through the reflection of the light. This not only allows that the artist comes closer to the intense pictorial effect of a painted surface, but also with a changing light source, his image is able to literally metamorphose. This metamorphose of light opens up a portal for the visitor to the image-rich and musical heavens.

Mercator Fund
In the publication, published by Mercator Fund on the occasion of this permanent installation, Barbara De Coninck, Joanna De Vos, Jenke Van den Akkerveken and Els Wuyts zoom in on the iconography and meaning of each individual altarpiece. How the mosaics have grown and metamorphosed from various collage drawings is also displayed. An overview text by Paul Huvenne makes the complete comparison between Fabre's contemporary interpretation of the altarpiece and the Baroque originals, from the angle of the architecture and the destination of the Saint Augustine church. Finally, Joost Vander Auwera goes further into the link amongst Fabre, Jordaens and Van Dyck.

Practical information

  • Jan Fabre in Saint Augustine church
  • Beginning 3 July 2018 (More information about the opening times at
  • Open from 3 July until 9 August 2018 on Monday from 14.00 to 20.00 and from Tuesday to Friday from 14.00 to 17.00. From 3 September 2018 only open on Monday from 14.00 to 20.00. More information about the additional opening times at
  • AMUZ, Kammenstraat 81, 2000 Antwerp
  • Free of charge
  • In collaboration with: Angelos / Jan Fabre with the support from City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contact person: Eva Wijnant,


Diasporalia – Koen Theys
Twelve bronze mattresses, covered with personal possessions, have been lined up in two rows on the floor. “Each mattress tells a story that develops around people as individuals, in search of their identity, as they struggle to preserve it. Man in search of his destination in life”, according to the artist. From 18 May until 13 January 2019, you can discover Diasporalia, Koen Theys’s new art installation, in St. Joseph’s Chapel in the Cathedral of Antwerp.

Koen Theys was inspired by Rubens. “He had the idea to create this art installation after visiting our church”, says a visibly proud Bart Paepen, who is the parish priest of the Cathedral of Our Lady. “It refers to the problem of refugees, to the diaspora or scattering of a population that is on the run for something, of people who were forced to leave all their material belongings behind. A contemporary Baroque artwork confronts visitors with one of the most pressing social issues of the twenty-first century. While the Church certainly does not have all the answers, it also wishes to be heard in this debate.”

Practical information

  • From 18 May 2018 until 13 January 2019
  • Exhibition in St. Joseph’s Chapel in the Cathedral of Our Lady
  • Cathedral of Our Lady 
    Handschoenmarkt - 2000 Antwerp
  • Open from Monday until Friday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
    Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
    Sundays and public holidays from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
    (The opening hours are subject to change and may be modified to exceptional circumstances of a liturgical nature)
  • Admission: €6 | €4 (groups of 20 or more participants, students, 60+ | free (-12, residents of the Province of Antwerp and holders of a Baroque Festival Card)
  • Organisation: Koen Theys, KETELEER Gallery, Monumentale Kerken Antwerpen with support of the City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contactperson: Marieke D’Hooghe, marieke.d' 


Yvon Tordoir – Baroque Murals

For the occasion of the cultural festival 'Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens Inspires', Yvon Tordoir, a graffiti artist from Antwerp, invites  three other street artists to create large murals in the centre of the city. Each of the four has a style that Tordoir is able to connect to a theme, master or technique from the Baroque. As of now, the works are clearly visible within walking distance of each other in the old city centre.

In his works, Greg Astro from Paris creates his own world with the subtlety of shadow and light, the power of colours and depths. An optical illusion of space that is not there originates from this aspect. His work highly resembles the chiaroscuro technique that was systematically applied in the Baroque. His style makes Astro one of the major international street artists of this time. For the Baroque festival, he is using three walls in the Prekerstraat and is adding a new dimension to the St. Andrew's neighbourhood with his famous trompe-l'oeil technique.

Sam Bates, better known as Smug, is an Australian graffiti artist who lives in Glasgow. He makes gigantic, hyperrealistic murals in major colour contrasts. His works always have returning themes such as death, transience, exaggerated forms and intense sentimental expressions. Thus being the epitome of Baroque. In the Kolverniersstraat, he is making a hyperrealistic portrait of a man who thoughtfully admires the shopping masses of people on the Meir.

el Mac
At first glance, Miles MacGregor from Los Angeles seems to work very realistically, but as you look more closely, you see that his portraits are constructed out of thick, air-brushed lines. He creates volume and depth by way of the overlapping lines. His work is characterised by a play between light and dark and greatly resembles the manner of Rembrandt's etchings. He has just arrived and beginning this week is taking on a wall in the Gramayestraat.

Yvon Tordoir
Yvon Tordoir from Antwerp has been passionate about painting letters for 20 years now. He is trained in painting and graphic design, but graffiti and street art remain his greatest passions. Primarily he makes calligraphy and figurative motifs. A combination such as the oo is to be found again in the capital letters of the old, Baroque texts. His monumental masterpiece on the Eiermarkt enriches the city with the word 'Antwerpen' in large, golden letters, decorated with striking Baroque curls; a nod to the clock of the Cathedral of Our Lady.

Practical information

  • Baroque Murals
  • To be seen ongoing, starting 1 June 2018
  • Prekersstraat, Kolveniersstraat, Gramayestraat en Eiermarkt, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Free
  • Organisation: with the support of the City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contactperson: Mia Prce,

Festive Opening

On Sunday 3 June, the Baroque Murals opens with festivities. Everyone is welcome on the Gramayestraat from 15.00 to 18.00, where DJ Droppa brings the perfect beats together with the free graffiti workshops.

Practical information

  • To be seen ongoing, starting 1 June 2018


Baroque in situ

The Cathedral of Our Lady, the Saint Andrew's church, the Saint Charles Borromeo's church, the Saint James's church and the Saint Paul's church form an unparalleled ensemble of five historic churches in the heart of the city, within walking distance of each other. In addition to lively parish churches, they are treasuries of art and cultural-historical heritage, and are unique witnesses of the Baroque in the Southern Netherlands.

Those who enter these largely Gothic church buildings will find an inexhaustible treasure of art in Baroque style, art full of recognisable emotions and brilliant details. Unlike museums, they are not simply depots for works of art, but places where religious masterpieces can be admired in situ, at the place for which they were ordered and designed centuries ago, and functioned as propaganda for the counter reformation of Roman Catholics in the wake of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Even though the churches were not spared from calamity, their architecture and art blend harmoniously and reinforce the total experience of aesthetics and spirituality.

People who enter a historic church are not always aware of the changes that the interior has undergone in the preceding centuries and which have determined its present appearance. Each of the five monumental churches is nested in its 17th-century context and some Baroque works of art are placed in the spotlight.

The DIY magazines are the starting point for discovering the historical and artistic treasures of each church with the whole family in a playful and instructive way. Go exploring together and make a church visit a fascinating experience.

In a new route, ‘In Rubens' footsteps’ along the five churches, split up into two routes, ‘Rubens' rise’ and ‘Rubens' prosperity’, the visitor can discover life story of Rubens (see Walks).

Practical information

  • 1 June 2018 – 13 January 2019
  • Cathedral of Our Lady, Saint Andrew's church, Saint Charles Borromeo's church, Saint James's church and Saint Paul's church
  • € 6 Cathedral of Our Lady  / € 3 Saint James's church / free with Baroque Festival Card
  • For opening hours of the churches and additional activities, see
  • Organisation: Monumental Churches of Antwerp with the support of the City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contact person: Marieke D’Hooghe, marieke.d’


Focus: Baroque splendour in a domestic setting

The intimate Museum Mayer van den Bergh presents Baroque splendour from the stunning collection of the passionate art collector Fritz Mayer van den Bergh (1858 – 1901). Via a free, walking guide, or the Antwerp Museum App, you will discover Baroque sculptural works, drawings and paintings by masters such as Cornelis de Vos and Jacob Jordaens.

Practical information

  • Focus: Baroque splendour in a domestic setting
  • 1 June 2018 – 13 January 2019
  • Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Lange Gasthuisstraat 19, 2000 Antwerpen
  • € 8 / free with Baroque Festival Card
  • Organisation: Museum Mayer van den Bergh
  • Contact person: Harlinde Pellens,

Naughty Kids. Punk, Image & Storm in Antwerp 1978 – 2018

Baroque and Punk don't have much in common at first sight: art with a large A versus alternative and underground. However, there are also similarities. The   corporeal and sometimes violent visual directness of the Baroque - a reaction to the iconoclasm - has its counterpart in the Punk movement.

In the 1970s, without apologies Punk said goodbye to the softness of Flower Power and the decadence of the excesses within the world of Rock. The signs of the anti-establishment 'attitude' of this new 'blank generation' surfaced not only in the music and on the street scenes. The countercurrent subculture with its spin-offs and related trends such as the post-Punk and New Wave infiltrate the lively Antwerp cultural scene of the time as well. With non-conformism, personal freedom, anti-authority and do-it-yourself on the brain, Punk set an iconoclasm in motion within the Antwerp fashion, graphic design, visual art and performance scene.

The exhibition, ‘Naughty Kids - Punk, Image & Storm in Antwerp 1978-2018’ brings together famous and obscure traces of this impact. This sleuthing into the past likewise makes a bridge to today: are Punk and the aftershocks of it still relevant in the year 2018?  The contemporary wave of self-published magazines, street art, poetic terrorism, artist collectives in combination with the call for a more critical art are in position to speak about a revival of Punk and its DIY ethic in Flanders and, more specifically, in Antwerp.

Whoever visits ‘NAUGHTY KIDS - Punk, Image & Storm in Antwerp 1978 – 2018’ gets a whiff of the 40 years of Punk. Photos, printed works, art works, music, clothing, Punk paraphernalia, and other living witnesses bring the impact of Punk (1970s), post-Punk and New Wave (1980s) and neo-Punk (1990s to present) into view. How were leading fashion designers, artists and writers influenced by Punk? With a never before seen richness of material, an opening concert by The Kids, a debate with the privileged witnesses about 'The Paradox of Punk', and a performative DIY programme, the Academy brushes closely up against the raw essence of Punk once more. Be there. There will be no next time.

Practical information

  • Naughty Kids. Punk, Image & Storm in Antwerp 1978 – 2018
  • 6 – 22 September 2018
  • Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Venusstraat 34B
  • Free of charge
  • Organisation: Royal Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts - KoMASK with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Tine Marguillier,


Baroque Next Generation: Weaving Together

In the meeting centre of Merksemdok, artist Klaas Rommelaere leads a creative studio weekly from June until December 2018. The studio moves to the Bouckenborgh Park during the Summer months. In this studio, there shall be collaborations around various handiwork techniques: embroidery, weaving, knotting ...  The result is a tapestry of symbols, colours and textures particular to the culture of women. This work will be exhibited during the reopening of CO Merksemdok, but afterwards also be shown at other locations within (and eventually outside of) the district.

Practical information

  • Baroque Next Generation: Weaving Together
  • From June until December 2018, every Thursday from 13.00 — 15.30
  • Exhibition during the reopening of the OC Merksemdok in September
  • Free of charge
  • Practical info and details at  
  • Organisation: District Merksem
  • Contact person: Emilie Legon,

Baroque Next Generation: Hof van Ursel | studio for contemporary Baroque

The Hof van Ursel in Ekeren was a country estate for Rubens, where he often stayed with family and friends. With a nod to the studio of Rubens, contemporary artists are invited to come to the park and castle to work on the theme of 'Baroque'. Just as in the studio of Rubens, a few established hosts guide young, upcoming talent. The result is presented during the Kasteelfeesten (Castle festivals) and later in the exhibition, 'Baroque Today!'

Practical information

  • Baroque Next Generation: Hof van Ursel | studio for contemporary Baroque
  • 22 September 2018, Kasteelfeesten (Castle festivals)
  • 5 – 21 October 2018, exhibition, ‘Baroque Today!’ in Hof De Bist
  • Free of charge, with an exception of the organ concerts
  • Practical information, details and tickets for organ concerts at
  • Organisation: District Ekeren
  • Contact person: Stijn Van Bouwel,

Baroque Next Generation: Baroque! Barucca?

cc De Kern asked photographer Debby Huysmans to acquaint young people in the Antwerp southern edge with the typical stylistic characteristics of the Baroque by way of a surprising art-education project.

Excessive, intense, abundant, heavily endowed drama, opulent backgrounds, life-like depictions – the review contains it all and forms the source of new inspiration. Results?

Contemporary photographic images, made in a major city in the still youthful 21st century, with walls filled, such as in a Baroque chamber of curiosities. You can expect that at various locations throughout Wilrijk during the month of November. Photographer Debby Huysmans guides this project along on solid tracks. By way of inspiring assignments, she allows the youths to engage in typical Baroque themes such as the portrait, the concept of vanitas and the figure study.

Practical information

  • Baroque Next Generation: Baroque! Barucca?
  • November 2018
  • At various locations in Wilrijk
  • Free of charge
  • Practical info and details at
  • Organisation: cc De Kern in collaboration with Academie Wilrijk and Pius X Instituut Antwerpen
  • Contact person: Sophie Vermeulen,

EXPO 2018

EXPO 2018 is an innovating and participative initiative centred around art in public spaces. The residents from the districts of postal code 2018 shall have the opportunity to invite an artist who makes a new work of art for the neighbourhood. Just as with the 17th century bourgeois, they become the patrons for artists. Five Antwerp neighbourhoods with the 2018 postal code thus will receive a unique, customised work of art. The residents follow workshops, lectures and have in-situ visits at museums and studios. The art works will be festively presented in 2018. The neighbourhoods and selected artists are: Zurenborg: Nick Hullegie, Klein Antwerpen – Harmonie: Bram Van Meervelde, Haringrode – Groen Kwartier: Gerard Herman, Brederode: Mark Pozlep, Markgrave: children, elderly people and people with a visual impairment shall make a work of art together.

Practical information

  • EXPO 2018
  • Beginning January 2018
  • At various locations in Antwerp districts with postal code 2018
  • Free of charge
  • Practical info and details at
  • Organisation: EXPO 2018 is an initiative of the Antwerp district in collaboration with the Middelheim Museum, Sint Lucas and these partners: AIR, BRDG, Cel Crabeels, Deviations, LLS 327, De Veerman, NDVR and Studio Start.
  • Contact person: Geert Gielis,  


2. Music


Baroque festival on the Conscienceplein with B.O.X, Efterklang, Tutti Fratelli and Dez Mona

For the Antwerp B.O.X, which makes new music with Baroque sounds, the Baroque year is the excellent opportunity to do on a large scale and in its home town what it has been doing now with verve for years: break down musical barriers. Special for Antwerp Baroque 2018, B.O.X. goes under the name of 'Altid Sammen', a new collaboration with Danish Efterklang. They will create an entirely new set with new songs and Baroque soundscapes.

A unique co-creation

B.O.X and Efterklang are working intensively in the coming months on a far-reaching creative collaboration in order to surprise a large audience at the start of 'Antwerp Baroque 2018' with 40 to 45 minutes of new music. The groups start with a blank slate, but let themselves be inspired by arrangement progressions that are typical for Baroque music, but then in a different dynamic. All of the musicians shall be as equals up on stage next to each other, as a new band with a result that becomes much more than merely 1+1. Artistic leader and lutenist of B.O.X, Pieter Theuns, happily emphasises this: "B.O.X shall be much more than an orchestra around Efterklang. We are engaging in a real, creative collaboration, in all aspects: we are striving for the co-creation of new music. Stronger still, we are going in search of a new hybrid sound.”

B.O.X is Baroque Orchestration X

The Antwerp collective enriches contemporary music with the richness of sound from the Baroque. “Actually, we use our instruments in a different context than for what they were intended", explains artistic leader Pieter Theuns. “Because, music does not belong in confined compartments. We gladly transcend the boundaries." And, with productions such as 'Sága', 'You US We All' and 'The Loom of Mind', B.O.X already extensively proves that it has a unique recipe that is quite tasty.


The Danish Efterklang is easily the most famous group with which B.O.X has already collaborated. This company from Copenhagen makes soft and pure electro-acoustic music with the accessibility of pop songs, yet always with a surprising twist. Because, the three childhood friends of Efterklang have an aversion to routine: they are continuously seeking out new terrains. And, that delivers more than just records with a very different character. It also brought them onto major stages and ensured for a few unique collaborations. They already played in the Sydney Opera House, made films with Vincent Moon and created a sound system in the world-famous restaurant Noma. In short, Efterklang is always up for a little experiment and the partner par excellence for this unique co-creation.

Pétur Ben

The music of the Icelandic Pétur Ben ranges from minimal folk to - yes - black metal. As a producer and musician, he has collaborated with Shahzad Ismaily, Nick Cave, Mugison, Amilina and Emiliana Torrini, amongst others. Ben won a variety of prizes, including the Edda Award for best soundtrack (for the film 'Metalhead' by Ragnar Bragason). He is also the driving force of the thirty-member chorus KÓRUS and opens the evening's festivities at the Conscienceplein.

Dez Mona

The Antwerp Dez Mona creates a stir with acoustic music that rests upon a combination of Jazz, Gospel, Tango and chorale. The imposing vocal range of the flamboyant singer Gregory Frateur, the striking arrangements and the many collaborations form the central thread running through their music. With B.O.X, Dez Mona previously made the enchanting presentation 'SÁGA', which received a great deal of international praise.

Tutti Fratelli

Tutti Fratelli is a social-artistic work place in Antwerp with an emphasis on the most vulnerable within our society. Tutti Fratelli creates theatre, with the help of artists and professional co-workers. The rehearsals and work processes result in performances that are played in large theatre halls.

Practical information

  • Baroque festival on the Conscienceplein with B.O.X, Efterklang, Tutti Fratelli and Dez Mona
  • 3 June 2018, beginning at 20.00
  • Hendrik Conscienceplein, 2000 Antwerp
  • Free of charge
  • Organisation: B.O.X with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Mia Prce,

graindelavoix – OUTLANDISH

Artists' collective graindelavoix is convinced that the Baroque in Antwerp began sooner than imagined, namely with the publication of ‘Utopia’ by Thomas More in 1516. Graindelavoix is premiering a ciné-concert in the Antwerp Baroque church par excellence: the Saint Charles Borromeo's church.  They are bringing More's Utopia, though with a bizarre, alternative scenario, filmed for the most part in Antwerp and on the Atlantic Ocean. The protagonists are casted as allegorical figures, but in the style of Laurel and Hardy. It becomes a sort of 'joyful, silly cinema' from that time period. The live soundtrack of the film is the wonderful polyphony of Thomas More's contemporaries Ashewell and Browne. “We filmed the first part on the Atlantic Ocean, in stormy weather. It didn't matter much if the entire cast was drenched", says Björn Schmelzer of graindelavoix about it. “It was nearly impossible to reach the shore because of the high waves.” A crazy adventure, with an unforgettable ciné-concert as the result.

Björn Schmelzer about OUTLANDISH:

 “Instead of making a literal adaptation, Margarida Garcia and I began to fillet the book and to strip it of all its rhetoric, its false representations, and we tried to work with the raw material, a sort of paradoxical core of every utopian project. We discovered a book full of absurdity, lies and humour, full of slow-motion slapstick, but also a book that below the surface mercilessly deconstructed the limits, dangers and paradoxes of every utopia. It became increasingly clear that our protagonists would become allegorical, but then in the style of Laurel and Hardy, in a cinematic style that hardly still exists, in which a marriage between extreme Naturalism and allegorical Mannerism is still possible: a sort of joyful, sill cinema such as in the time of old, far from psychoanalysing, emo-culture and social drama.”

Practical information

  • OUTLANDISH (Film concert in English with Dutch subtitles)
  • 6 – 8 July 2018, each time at 22.30
  • Saint Charles Borromeo's church Antwerp, Hendrik Conscienceplein 6, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 15
  • Organisation: graindelavoix in collaboration with Les rencontres Inattendues Doornik, City of Doornik, Hospital of Undersized Gestures Lisbon and with the support by the Flemish Community and the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Mia Prce,



2018 becomes a festive year for AMUZ. In the Summer, Laus Polyphoniae celebrates its 25th anniversary and in the autumn, AMUZ focuses on Baroque music in the context of 'Antwerp Baroque 2018'. Laus Polyphoniae and the seasonal concerts in the autumn of 2018 shall form a special festival together that goes by the name of AMUZ – 1618 | BEFORE & BEYOND.

At the centre of the musical activities is 1618, the year in which the Augustinian church was opened. Laus Polyphoniae is presenting the music from before 1618: from heavenly Gregorian chants to sumptuous polyphony. The new music styles and genres of the Baroque are again offered in the autumn: worldly opera, religious cantata and instrumental music. Music lovers will be graciously attended to.

Seven concerts in the spotlight:

Scherzi Musicali - La Pellegrina

With one foot in the Renaissance and the other in the budding Baroque, the musical interludes, the intermedii of La Pellegrina, are a milestone in the evolution of western music. La Pellegrina, written for the marriage of Ferdinando I de' Medici and Christine de Lorraine, was the musical translation of six allegorical, mythological scenes. However, it is the intermedii, in which the link is made between the Greek mythology and the young couple, which would make history. Nicolas Achten, singer and lutanist, leads the nearly fifty singers and musicians of Scherzi Musicali in a musical story that takes the listener from one dream to another.

I Fagiolini & The English Cornett and Sackbut Ensemble - L’Orfeo, Claudio Monteverdi

L’Orfeo tells the story of Orpheus who lost his beloved bride, Eurydice. Overwhelmed by never-ending sorrow, he descends into the underworld in order to bring her back, but one moment of doubt ensures that he must give her up for all time to the world of the dead. Orpheus is hurled back and forth between love and loss, acted out by Claudio Monteverdi in a powerful, emotional dialogue between orchestra and singers. Monteverdi’s ‘favola in musica’ is viewed as the beginning of opera. The semi-scenic execution by I Fagiolini, directed by Thomas Guthrie promises to be a breath-taking closer for Laus Polyphoniae 2018.

Guthrie's production of Ludd and Isis at the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden) was praised by the press as "One of the Royal Opera House's grandest achievements.” Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is still an experience, even after 411 years.

Reinoud Van Mechelen & a nocte temporis - Dumesny, le haute-contre de Lully & grand orchestre

Tenor Reinoud Van Mechelen and his forty-member Baroque orchestra a nocte selected the most beautiful arias and instrumental music from the operas of Lully and contemporaries. The common elements is de haute-contre (not to be confused with contratenor), a rare type of high-tenor voice. In France of the 17th and 18th centuries, these voices garnered the leading roles in the opera. “His clear, high though never-screaming tenor provided him with fresh, swift career in the world of Baroque music", writes De Standaard about Reinoud Van Mechelen.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber - Rosary Sonatas Rachel Podger & friends

Rachel Podger plays a selection from the most talked-about Baroque works for violin and basso continuo: The Rozenkranzsonaten by Biber.  Written for the largest masses in the cathedral of Salzburg, the sonatas bring visual moments from the life of Christ and Mary into sound. The fifteen sonatas and the impressive closing Passacaglia are written with a previously unknown freedom, fantasy and virtuosity. Moreover, each sonata calls for a different tuning (scordatura) of the violin. “A glorious example of someone who lives life through her violin”, wrote The Gramophone about Podger.

Academy of Ancient Music - Messiah, Georg Friedrich Händel

Messiah was in Handel's time already a hit. Academy of Ancient Music handles all aspects of Messiah under the inspiring guidance of Richard Egarr like no other ensemble: from the moving soberness in I Know that My Redeemer Liveth to majesty and grandeur in the Hallelujah chorus. As the Financial Times correctly wrote: “Forty years on, and 300 recordings later, the Academy of Ancient Music is a leader in the field”. The imposing interior of the Saint Paul's church with one of the most beautiful collections of Baroque paintings is the desired decor.

Jordi Savall & Rolf Lislevand - Folias and romanescas

For many years now, Jordi Savall and Rolf Lislevand are legends in the world of ancient music. Savall makes viola da gamba known to a wide audience. The Norse lutanist Lislevand continues to surprise with his dazzling technical virtuosity. The two musicians, explore the many aspects of the inexhaustible repertoire for their instruments, with music by Diego Ortiz, Tobias Hume, Marain Marais and Saint Colombe (père & fils). The common thread in this programme is the lively and expressive character of the Spanish music that was an inspiration for many composers.

Oltremontano - Illustri colleghi da San Marco

The city-state of Venice was the commercial and cultural centre of Europe and played a central role in the new developments in music. The new Italian compositions were distributed and performed via the   music printings, and were also reprinted by Phalèse on the Antwerp presses. The early-Baroque works intone various emotions and conduct a dialogue that goes straight to the heart. Sophie Thoen, Vincent Lesage and the musicians of  Oltremontano transport you back to the music and sounds of Venice, in the early-17th century, the birthplace of Baroque music. Instruments and voices melt together in a virtuose and authentic symbiosis of sound.

Practical information

  • 1618 | BEFORE & BEYOND
  • 16 August – 16 December 2018. For all concerts, see
  • AMUZ, Kammenstraat 81, 2000 Antwerp (Bourla, Saint Paul's church)
  • Ticket prices vary per concert.
  • Concert L’Orfeo in collaboration with Toneelhuis
  • Organisation: AMUZ with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Julie Hendrickx,

Baroque & roll! Play along with the Plutomobiel

Plutomobiel is an art-education project for Antwerp children. 'Art with a small a' is the motto. A carrier bike visits small plazas where children are playing outside. Art docents lead artistic activities with the children. The Plutomobiel primarily works in places where children find it more difficult for access to recreational offerings. The project increases the cultural competencies of young children, expands their world, stimulates the fantasy and allows them to playfully become acquainted with stories, theatre, dance, music, image and film.

The Plutomobiel elevates the little, summer plazas in Antwerp and proves that the Baroque is anything but boring and stuffy. Children between six and twelve years of age can let the Baroque musician in them loose during free workshops.  A musical experience from Bach to Lady Gaga.

Violinist Liesbet Jansen and bassoonist Kaat Hoogmartens are giving a small concert together along with a third musician, so that the children can  get acquainted with the sounds of Baroque music. The children follow various activities in small groups and in a playful manner acquire knowledge and skills dealing with the Baroque and different artistic disciplines. Children are (often) not so familiar with the term Baroque, and so the musicians of the Plutomobiel try to stimulate them via various senses: not only with listening, but also seeing, tasting and moving.

Practical information

  • Baroque & roll! Play along with the Plutomobiel
  • 3, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 July 2018
  • Hanegraefstraat 2050 Left Bank, Ernest Claesplein 2050 Left Bank, Willy Vandersteenplein 2060 Antwerp, Terloplein 2140 Antwerp, Park Hof van Leysen 2018 Antwerp, Haantjeslei 2018 Antwerp, Twee Netenplein 2060 Antwerp, Geelhandplaats 2060 Antwerp, Alfons De Cockplein 2020 Antwerp and Jan Ligthartplein 2020 Antwerp   and two additional places in the city.
  • Free of charge
  • Organisation: Pluto in collaboration with Huis van Het Kind, Onze stad ons huis, SAMIK, KRAS Dam and Elegast, Buurtregie enandKRAS Kiel with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Brechtje Van Bel,,

Urban Baroque Bowl

MC, beatboxer and theatre-maker Kris Strybos, known as Scale by insiders, is on a mission: he is building a special installation in which everyone can experience music in a new and more tangible way. His gets his inspiration from the exuberant and intense emotions of the great Baroque masters of the 17th century. Graffiti artist Bird (Bram De Ceurt) takes care of the decoration of the Urban Baroque Bowl. Art lover or curious onlooker: step inside the installation for an exceptional musical trip.

Practical information

  • 26 August – 28 December 2018 (as long as set-up and break-down)
  • Cultuurmarkt Antwerpen, Feest Kielpark, Bib Kielpark, Bib Elsschot, co Sint-Andries (St. Andrew's) / Costa, cc Deurne, Bib De Poort and two additional places in the city
  • Free of charge
  • Organisation: Taktic with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Flore Opsomer,


Chamber music concert Antwerp Symphony Orchestra

Two woodwind musicians of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra bring in music by Handel and Telemanns Table music into the splendid Baroque AMUZ. Other Baroque masters hurl melancholy at us at times, and then again positivism. In short: sound artists make Antwerp even more Baroque on 14 October.

Small, and yet large, you can thus best describe the chamber music concert series of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra in the splendid Baroque AMUZ. Musicians from the orchestra fall in line in changing formations for six Sundays in order to stir the emotions with the most beautiful chamber music.

Practical information

  • Chamber music concert Antwerp Symphony Orchestra
  • 14 October 2018 at 15.00
  • AMUZ, Kammenstraat 81, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 17
  • Organisation: Antwerp Symphony Orchestra with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Filip Stuer,

Christmas concert Antwerp Symphony Orchestra

The magnificent, Baroque Saint Charles Borromeo's church is closely associated with Rubens. This Antwerp gem is well-accustomed to forming the amazing context for the traditional Christmas concert by the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra. Enjoy along with many other music lovers of delightful atmospheric music in this magnificent church and take a walk through the city afterwards with a warm feeling, where the winter darkness competes with the flickering of the Christmas lights.

Along with Soprano Lore Binon, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra brings forth the most brilliant Christmas classics at the end of December. Guest director Richard Egarr leads the orchestra through Bach's orchestral suite with the matchless Air and his cantata ‘Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen’. After that, Egarr goes and sits behind the stops and keys for ‘The cuckoo and the nightingale’, the festive organ concerto by Handel.

Practical information

  • Christmas concert Antwerp Symphony Orchestra
  • 20 – 22 December 2018, every night at 20.00
  • Saint Charles Borromeo's church Antwerp, Hendrik Conscienceplein 6, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 33 / € 10
  • Organisation: Antwerp Symphony Orchestra with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Filip Stuer,


ARTICULATE 2018. Research days

Everything changes, nothing decays

ARTICULATE 2018 delivers Baroque not only in the classic form, but also teases out and interprets music, theatre, poetry and visual arts from this period. Both beginner and experienced speakers, performers and curators bring their version of the Baroque to various locations this autumn.

ARTICULATE is an annual festival for research and art. Performance artists, musicians and visual artists of the Royal Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp engage in a dialogue with their work and works in progress along with the general public. For this third edition, the research days are focussing upon projects with a Baroque theme.

Eclectic experiments
The programme of ARTICULATE begins on Thursday, 6 September in conjunction with the opening of the Naughty Kids exhibition. It is the first of eight experimental and eclectic Baroque events, spread out over 2 months and 3 locations.

On 30 September, top musicians and Baroque specialists in AMUZ come together for the high mass of the Flemish Baroque music. Scores by Joseph-Hector Fiocco and Willem de Fesch, two composers from the period, have been studied for a long time now in the library of the Conservatoire.

Rudolf Rasch, Anne Cambier, Guido De Neve & Frank Agsteribbe are playing in a unique concert sonatas and canzonette by De Fesch, while cantoLX & Ensemble de la Chapelle Saint-Marc perform Fiocco and P.H. Brehÿ.

On 25 and 26 October, the ARTICULATE-festival centre of AMUZ moves to the Royal Conservatoire. The HERMESensemble in collaboration with De Compagnie are performing the world premier of the new Stabat Mater composition by Italian composer Paolo Galli. The contemporary version for violin, alto violin, cello, flute, clarinet, percussion and mezzo-soprano is performed on both days. On 25, The Ensemble of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp o.l.v Ewald Demeyere performs compositions by Leonardo Leo, a respected Neapolitan Baroque master, who was overshadowed for a time and forgotten. The Ensemble also plays the Stabat Mater of the 17th-century composer Fedele Fenaroli. On this day, actor Lucas Vandervost also delves deeper into the mythological sources of inspiration for the Antwerp Baroque painters. Ovidius wrote, “Everything changes, nothing decays”, in his poetry collection Metamorphoses, a work that Vandervost already used in his doctoral research. The metamorphosis from telling to story becomes the point of departure for this lecture-performance.

On 26 October, harpsichordist Korneel Bernolet demonstrates his doctoral research into arpeggios on his centuries-old harpsichord. The acting class of the Conservatoire performs its own version of Joost van den Vondels Lucifer (1648 – 1654) with coaching by dramatist Jan Peter Gerrits. From theatre-maker Vincent Meenen a new work is presented: he made 100 drawings that echo the exuberant and the bombastic of Baroque.

On 6 September ARTICULATE is the guest at the opening evening of the 'Naughty Kids' exhibition in the Lange Zaal of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. At first glance, Baroque and Punk seem to be opposites of each other, but both movements herald in a totally new language of form. Punk exhibition 'Naughty Kids' brings the iconoclasm of the Baroque and the Punk movement into focus as the recent revival of artists' publications and DIY initiatives. During the debate afternoon 'The paradox of Punk' a number of experts from fashion, performance, music and DIY discuss Punk.

Practical information

  • ARTICULATE 2018. Research days
  • 30 September 2018 in AMUZ, Kammenstraat 81
  • 25 – 26 October 2018, world premier of the new Stabat Mater-creation MERMESensemble,  Royal Conservatoire – deSingel, Desguinlei 25
  • 6 September 2018 in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts–  De Lange Zaal, Venusstraat 34b
  • For more information and prices, see
  • Organisation: ARTICULATE is an organisation of the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp (AP Hogeschool) in collaboration with HERMESensemble, Study centre for Flemish Music, Research group LABO XIX-XX, AMUZ, deSingel, University of Antwerp and KoMASK with support of the City of Antwerp.
  • Contact person: Tine Marguillier,

Baroque organ warm-up time in Saint Norbertus church

Beginning June 2018, a powerful example of craftsmanship arises in the Saint Norbertus church in a deep, mahogany-red colour. With a nod to the Baroque past of the city, the new organ likewise forms the connection with the exciting future.

Organists Emmanuel Van Kerckhoven and Aart Bergwerff (NL), The Antwerp Baroque Orchestra, are regular soloists and Het Groot Akkoord treats you to two days of music by which it shall be shown in all of its beautiful aspects: as a Baroque instrument, as a contemporary instrument, as an accompaniment instrument as a solo instrument and as an instrument with which can be played in tandem with the romantic Loret organ from 1846. With the diverse and whirling programme, you will come to know everything about this overwhelming and exceptional show-piece on the Dageraadsplaats.

The brand-new organ is a special instrument, and not only with respect to design and sound. It indeed looks as if it were built in the Baroque time period, but is full of modern gadgets such as a wind motor that, dependent upon the necessary air pressure to give sound to an organ pipe, it adjusts itself with respect to number of revolutions, or such as the transferable clavier by which it can be played at 440 Hz (the contemporary tuning) or at 415 Hz (the Baroque tuning, a half-tone lower). The instrument forms the ultimate combination of authentic and yet contemporary. Moreover, the organ has its place below in the church. As such, the hand and foot works of the organist can be viewed extensively

The inauguration weekend contains a broad and accessible programme with an organ-solo concert, concertos for organ and orchestra, a Bach cantata, technical presentations and a surprising performance of dance music on the organ.

Practical information

  • Baroque organ warm-up time in Saint Norbertus church
  • 20 October at 16.00 and 21 October 2018 from 11.00 until 18.00
  • Saint Norbertus church, Dageraadplaats, 2018 Antwerp
  • Free of charge
  • Organisation: Baroque organ Saint Norbertus church with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person:  Emmanuel Van Kerckhoven,

Retteketet Muziekkabinet

That is the harmonious name of a two-day Festival centred around old music and historical performance practice with concerts, workshops and master classes by home-grown ensembles, a market with builders, publishers, free podium and a performance by DKO. Interested music lovers can enjoy  music and musical instruments from Rubens' time during this Baroque edition. For example, one can listen to the Brussels music of the 17th century performed by the ensemble Sospiri Ardenti with recorder player Geert Van Gele. At the old music market, one can also see instruments and other beauties by instrument builders, music publishers, music stores and booksellers from within and outside of Belgium.

For the one who would rather do it herself, there are a number of workshops, master classes and mini concerts. Aline Hopchet lets beginners experiment in a workshop with  bassoons, dulcians and French horns. In other workshops simple, popular dances such as Pavans, Allemandes, Sarbands, Courants, Ballets ... are played from the bundle 'T Uitnement Kabinet' by Paulus Matthyszoon on the appropriate instruments. Musicians with experience can come to the master classes of Kate Clark, the specialist of the wooden transverse flute and with harpsichordist and specialist Kris Verhelst. Whoever wishes, you can let your hair down on the free podium or sing along at the top of your lungs with the Ierste Muziekboexken of Tielman Susato.

Under the guidance of Wim Becu of DKO the performance of the students and faculty of the department of Old Music of Antwerp and Ma'go takes place in the Saint James's church, a special place full of Baroque treasures.  

Practical information

  • Retteketet Muziekkabinet
  • 24 and 25 November 2018
  • Butchers' Hall, Vleeshouwersstraat 38 and Saint James's church, Lange Nieuwstraat 73
  • € 15 / € 5
  • Organisation: Belgian Early Music Community Ma’go Antwerp, DKO Antwerp (department of Old Music) with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Axel De Schrijver,,

Beguinage concerts RedHerring

RedHerring Baroque ensemble o.l.v. Patrick Denecker is programming internationally acclaimed Baroque specialists in the Beguinage church. On 13 and 14 October tenor Jan Van Elsacker takes the public along with him on a masterpiece musical time journey with ‘Canzoni Italiani: love during the time of Rubens’ back to the 17 th century. An exciting introduction to the 17th-century musical phenomena such as the instrumental sonata and the vocal canzona, of which Rubens must have also known of or had heard of in all likelihood. On 8 and 9 December soprano Lore Binon carrie us away with the heading ‘Van Dyck's music: English music in the ears of Sir Anthony’ to England and the Low Countries of the 17the century. And, for that matter, there is a direct link between the Antwerp Beguinage and Sir Anthony van Dyck: his sisters lived there. In addition to the architectural and musical aspect  during the concerts the pictorial also is offered by highlighting the presence of a few important paintings by Jacob Jordaens, for example.

Practical information

  • Beguinage concerts RedHerring Baroque Ensemble
  • 13, 14 October and 8, 9 December 2018, each day at 15.00
  • Saint Catherine's church Beguinage, Rodestraat 39, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 20 / € 15
  • Organisation: Dialogues with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Patrick Denecker,

Natashia Kelly and Brice Soniano

A special partnership of a singer and a contra-bassist that weave together the contemporary with the Baroque. Natashia and Brice take the music from the early Baroque as a point of departure, with Henry Purcell and Giovanni Pergolesi as sources of inspiration. They experiment with repetitions, duration, variation, texture and tonal colours that become poetry as a whole. It is a total experience by which the public can walk around freely and thus not only let the music sink in, but also the location. Natashia Kelly and Brice Soniano perform a few mini concerts at various locations from 4 August until 1 September. On 2 September at 11.00, the magnificent hall of the Library Hendrik Conscience opens its doors for this special Baroque concert.

Practical information

  • Natashia Kelly and Brice Soniano
  • 2 September 2018 at 11.00. Other concert information at
  • Library Hendrik Conscience, Hendrik Conscienceplein 4, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 5
  • Organisation: Natashia Kelly and Brice Soniano with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person:


Sound in Motion presents From Bach To The Future

‘From Bach To The Future’ is an adventurous concert series that in a natural way lets it be seen and heard how the Baroque lives on still in various ways in contemporary music. Not only in the context at hand of classical music, but surprisingly enough also in the world of free improvisation, contemporary composition, world music and the avant-garde.

The perfect point of departure for the concert series 'From Bach To The Future' is a quote from the famous Baroque specialist Jordi Savall, who shows how strongly Baroque and improvisation are interwoven with each other: 'What does the 'immeasurable genius' of Johann Sebastian Bach have in common with the most influential jazz innovator John Coltrane? Improvisation plays an important role for both composers in their music. Whoever thinks that improvisation was discovered by Jazz musicians could surely use a little lesson in music history.”

With the Antwerp Butchers' Hall – which contains 600 years of music history  – as an ideal location and partner, and with the renowned artists Aisha Orazbayeva, Tim Etchells,  Mary Jane Leach, Raphael Rogiński, Maya Homburger, Barry Guy and Charlemagne Palestine, ‘From Bach To The Future’ is poised for a musical-discovery experience that takes the public from Bach, Telemann and Purcell via Coltrane, Parmegiani, Leach and Palestine in a spontaneous way in the direction of the future

For ‘From Bach To The Future’ five, unique events/concerts are  provided as well as an overview exhibition.

Practical information

  • Sounds in Motion presents From Bach To The Future
  • 8, 23, 30 September and 6 October 2018, each day at 20.00 and 16 September 2018 at 18.00
  • Butchers' Hall, Vleeshouwersstraat 38, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 15 / € 10 / € 5 in advance sales;  € 18 / € 13 / € 10 at the window
  • Organisation: Sound In Motion with the support from the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Koen Vandenhoudt,


Curiosa – Theater De Spiegel & De Veerman

‘Curiosa’ is a Baroque installation-presentation for children from 0 to 3 years of age and their adult supervisors. ‘Curiosa’ is going on tour at theatre halls as well as childcare facilities.

This modular chamber of wonders is an sensory experience full of rarities, art cabinets, graphic work and music. Children can observe, play and experiment with the elements available on their own. However, the musicians and the visual artists also –  each from their own artistic language – interact with the objects, the music and whatever else the children add themselves.

Musical and visual style elements from the Baroque are placed within a broader, historical perspective. Antwerp in the seventeenth century experienced a revival from the counter-Reformation. Wealthy residents began to function as patrons for art and artists. Rockox, Van der Geest, Plantijn and Moretus as well as Rubens himself started with the collecting of artworks, naturalia and personalia. Rubens even had a separate room built and a garden laid out for all of his curiosities that he had brought back from his travels through Italy, France, Spain and England.

People were aware that painters or sculptors were not just artisans who created a work in the service of religion, but were real artists, with their own style, characteristics and personal speciality.

Within these Art Chambers, or Mirabilia - also called Teatri di Nature ed'Arte - the owners/collectors attempted to confront the wonders with the sublime of the human creation and thus to transcend the real. These chambers and closets formed the basis for what would later become encyclopaedias and museums.

Contemporary artists are also frequently in search of a way in which to connect the hyper-real with the natural. Just as the young child that observes, plays, experiments and investigates, the artist builds his fundamental mind maps from surprise, personal collections and assemblages. Herein lies the essential connection with the target group of the very young.

There is a parallel with today also in the trafficking of foreign styles and icons that led to new ideas and design in the Baroque in our regions. It is a link by which we open up the Baroque period to our current society in this project.

Practical information

  • Curiosa
  • 25 –26 August 2018 at 10, 14 and 16.00 in hetpaleis, Theaterplein, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 10 / € 5
  • 3 – 6 January 2019 in DE Studio, Maarschalk Gerardstraat 4, 2000 Antwerp
  • Organisation: Theater De Spiegel, De Veerman with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact persons: Marie Caeyers, and Manu Van Doorsselaer,


Woensdagklanken 2018 (Wednesday Sounds). In the tracks of the Duartes

The Duartes, one of the most musical families from Antwerp of the 17th century, lived on the Meir, just on the corner near the Rubens family. The Duartes had Jewish roots, and in a world full of religious tensions, music spoke a universal language. In their urban palace, father Gaspar and three daughters regularly gave concerts. In 2018, the Butchers' Hall lets you become acquainted with the Duartes and their music. Young, promising musicians and resident hosts take us along from Antwerp urban palaces to the English Court, from Holland gardens to Spanish castles ... in the tracks of the Duartes. In the nearby, renovated Snijders&Rockox House, there is a music chamber to admire, such as Gaspar Duarte's.

Practical information

  • Woensdagklanken 2018 (Wednesday Sounds). In the tracks of the Duartes
  • Monthly on Wednesdays, except in July and August
  • Butchers' Hall, Vleeshouwersstraat 38, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 5
  • Organisation: Butchers' Hall
  • Contact person: Marleen Maes,


Sleep – Max Richter

In line with ‘Diasporalia’, on 7 September, you can spend the night in the cathedral for the concert Sleep by the German composer Max Richter. ‘Sleep’ is an eight-hour concert in which the spectators are not seated but lying on beds for the occasion. Richter was inspired by the work of the world-famous Baroque composer Bach for the composition.

“By linking Diasporalia with Sleep, we challenge people to empathise with the fate of the people to which the sculpture by Koen Theys refers. What dreams do the people who leave their homes have? What desires live in the hearts of the uprooted men, women and children who wash up on the shores of our society? Is it not exactly at this level that people, despite so many differences, find each other and recognise each other?" (E.H. Bart Paepen, pastor of the cathedral)

Practical information

  • Sleep – Max Richter
  • 7 — 8 September 2018, from midnight until 8.00
  • More information and reservations (from mid June) via 
  • € 90 / € 120 with breakfast
  • Cathedral of Our Lady, Handschoenmarkt, 2000 Antwerpe
  • Organisation: Studio Richter Mahr, Monumental Churches of Antwerp with the support of the City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contact person: Marieke D’Hooghe, marieke.d’     


3. Theatre, dance & music theatre


Earth Diver – Muziektheater Transparant

‘Earth Diver’ is an initiative by director Wouter Van Looy. A multi-media portrait with breath-taking power about a community in crisis, which sees its demise before it and is hesitatingly seeking for answers.

ChorWerk Ruhr sings the one-time religious music of Heinrich Schütz, with the gaze raised hopefully towards a God who brings hope and salvation. Music that was written in the time that plague and war brought death and destruction. Then resounds the music of Nikolaus Brass, who is searching, questioning, allowing the religious house of cards of Schütz to teeter.

The choir moves within an imposing, video-decor in which video artist Wim Catrysse sketches an apparently fictive portrait of an icy place, remainders after a disaster. A community of mine workers, who despite knowing better, re-tap open the vein and continue digging in the earth.

In the middle, performer-singer Phil Minton reads and sings a captivating poem about loss and detachment. A text by Paul Verrept, inspired by the stages of grief of Kübler-Ross. He takes us along from denial to anger, from our negotiating with life to lethargy and depression, for where are the answers to be found? What does God say, or does science have a better offer? Who helps us to accept that an end comes for us?

Practical information

  • Earth Diver – Muziektheater Transparant
  • 11 – 13 October 2018, every day at 20.00, 14 October 2018 at 15.00
  • Former Electrabel site/Interescaut, Alexander Wuststraat, 2627 Schelle
  • € 25 / € 20 / € 8
  • Organisation: ‘Earth Diver’ is a co-production of the City of Antwerp with deSingel.
  • Contact person: Mia Prce,

Het land Nod – Toneelhuis/FC Bergman

When in 1890 the Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts opened its doors, the architectural publication L’Emulation boldly questioned: “Que diable va-t-on loger dans ces immenses salles?” "What wickedness/devil shall dwell in these immense halls?" To this day it is difficult to provide a simple answer to the question. The fact is that since its opening, the museum houses the work of one of the greatest sorcerers form art history: Peter Paul Rubens. The central hall of this building was especially designed for his canvases.

However, one could just as well say that the museum has stored away something else all of this time, perhaps even greater or the greatest in its enormous halls: a collection of human passages. An invisible archive of silent gazes, contemplations, meditations ... In short, a gigantic amount of stories, which lies sleeping like a massive, yet invisible giant amongst its velveted walls. For more than a century, people rest and solace amongst these masterpieces, with crackled saints looking down upon their heads. For just as long, time stands still within these walls.

“As the first V bomb falls in Antwerp on 13 October 1944 upon the houses of the Schildersstraat near the museum, the museum is spared for the most part, but the glass roofing, the ceilings, the wall covering and naturally also a great deal of the paintings are seriously damaged. (...) The damage is apparently so great that still in 1947 rain and snow trickle in in various halls on the uppermost floor, that cornices are crumbling and the museum is could and damp and even was called 'inhospitable'.” (from The KMSKA.) A history 1810 – 2007)

Today, the museum offers the same sort of appearance. This time not through the ravages of war, but because of thorough renovations. Yet, it is an odd image: to see the Rubens' Hall so maimed, so dismantled ... It is as if along with the holes in the wall a breach has been made into the reservoir of stories, which seems to slowly run dry. Toneelhuis/FC Bergman makes a careful attempt to patch the wound with 'Het land Nod' and place a bandage on the wooden leg.

Practical information

  • Het land Nod by FC Bergman
  • 25 – 28 October 2018, every night at 20.00
  • Former Electrabel site/Interescaut, Alexander Wuststraat, 2627 Schelle
  • € 25 / € 20 / € 8
  • Organisation: ‘Het land Nod’ is a co-production of the City of Antwerp with Toneelhuis.
  • Contact person: Mia Prce,


Lucifer: a modern-day oratorio – De Bronstige Bazooka’s

Thomas De Prins, Andy Fierens and Michaël Brijs are creating a modern-day oratorio about a rebelling angel. The central theme is the flight, and the figure of the exile. The story is sung and told by the choir De Bronstige Bazooka’s and among others, it is inspired by the eponymous theatre piece by Baroque writer Vondel. Lucifer is an eclectic listening experience that combines Baroque elements with concrete mystique, physics, metaphysics, suspense, humour and Surrealism. Recited passages alternate with instrumental fugues and magnificent chorales.

The oratorio is a vocal work with a spiritual content, often with a central narrator. In contrast to opera, it does not have scenery and is not acted out. This form primarily made its ascent in the Baroque period. Lucifer is inspired by the eponymous tragedy by Joost van den Vondel that had its premier in Amsterdam in 1654. There is also a link with Antwerp. Vondel's parents had to flee the city in 1582 because of their religious beliefs. Via detours through Cologne and Utrecht, they ultimately arrived in Amsterdam.

The theme of the flight is all-too-real today, not only in art, but primarily and unfortunately also in reality. From the flight of the archangel, a link is then also made in Lucifer to the homeless who now are in search of a new home around the world. This is the main theme of the presentation. In addition to the reference to Vondel, this oratorio also recalls the life and work of the Baroque writer Richard Verstegen, who had to flee England in the 16th century. His new home became Antwerp, where he spent the rest of his life in safety.

De Bronstige Bazooka’s are accompanied by a instrumental quartet ensemble and two vocal soloists. Participating choir: Ladies Aloud (

Practical information

  • Lucifer: a modern-day oratorio by De Bronstige Bazooka’s
  • 22 November 2018 at 20.30
  • AMUZ, Kammenstraat 81, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 12 in pre-sales / € 14 at the window
  • Organisation: Lucifer is a co-production by De Bronstige Bazooka’s with Behoud De Begeerte, Arenberg Theatre and Fameus (supported by KunstZ) with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Michaël Brijs,



For the active-participative project STADSPARADIJZEN, the young members of the kunstZ-academie and of Fameus, artists of kunstZ,  youths from OOSTNATIE and kopsel combine their artistic talents. The young participants are stimulated to create and to give expression to their desires, their view to others and to themselves by way of text, song, dance, music theatre and video projections. These artistic expressions show a cross-section of territories and emotions.

In STADSPARADIJZEN the animal kingdom is a metaphor for various observations about the Urban Jungle: a biotope where people are primarily occupied with protecting, expanding and challenging territories. STADSPARADIJZEN is not a choice between an idyllic paradise and a dangerous Urban Jungle. However, it does show the wonderment surrounding the meetings in the city between people of different types.

Rubens, Jean De La Fontaine and Marie-Jo Lafontaine together form the sources of inspiration for STADSPARADIJZEN. In the work of Rubens 'The Earthly Paradise with the Fall of Adam and Eve' we see an idyllic landscape full of animals, wild and domesticated, existing brotherly side by side. It appears indeed to be an allegory of an ideal, super-diverse society. However, we know that the fall from grace shall quickly and thoroughly destroy this place.

Jean De La Fontaine, a contemporary of Rubens gives the animals a completely different role. He gives the animals human attributes in his fables. This allows him to both criticise interpersonal behaviours as well as commentating on society at large. Irony and humour are obliging supporters of this.

In her photo series, ‘I Love the world’ Marie-Jo Lafontaine makes portraits of human figures with animal heads. She sets the figures consciously in the context of the big city. This setting has little to do with the romantic countryside and the friendly, little villages in which the fables of Jean De La Fontaine are played out. As artist, gives form and colour to the city, feeling the vibrations with aplomb. However, the threat is never far off. Hence the fall from grace.

Practical information

  • Stadsparadijzen – kunstZ and Fameus
  • 22 – 23 December 2018, every night at 20.30
  • Zaal Athena, Koninklijk Atheneum Antwerp, Franklin Rooseveltplaats 11, 2060 Antwerp
  • € 10 / € 8
  • Organisation: Stadsparadijzen is an active, participative project of kunstZ in collaboration with Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Kopspel, OOSTNATIE and Fameus with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Mulanga Nkolo,,


The Parade of men, women and those who from a distance look like flies - part 2 - Thomas Verstraeten

On 20 May 2017 'The Parade of men, women and those who from a distance look like flies' the took place. The parade was a one-time performance by artist and theatre-maker Thomas Verstraeten. A colourful collection of 1000 residents of Antwerp marched together in a colourful parade. With this parade, Verstraeten tried to bring order to the chaos of the street, the city and the ever-more complex world. It was a parader of police agents and firefighters, skaters and cricket players, from men with an Aldi bag and women on men's bikes ... The parade was the place where the city showed itself to the world.

One year after the date, Verstraeten goes to work on the enormous collection of video images that were filmed during the parade. On a monumental, mounted triple screen, Verstraeten hopes to expose the new layer of meanings. Sound artist Senjan Jansen makes a enthralling sound decor with the video installation.

The Parade of men, women and those who from a distance look like flies places itself in the rich, Antwerp tradition of processions and parades of giants, whereby the residents of Antwerp show themselves and their world image to the world at large. A tradition that experienced its heyday in the Baroque period. It was in the 17th century that the processions freed themselves from their religious origin and evolved into profane, worldly events. The appearance of giants, mythological creatures and local heroes replace religious scenes. The processions evolved from religious processions into civilian parades, by citizens for citizens. An evolution that continues to this day in my parade. An important source of inspiration from the Baroque is the print by Gaspar Bouttats, printed by the famous Antwerp printer Hieronymus Verdussen de Jonge from 1685. In this print, a magnificent procession takes places on the Meir amongst a gigantic throng of people.

Practical information

  • The Parade of men, women and those who from a distance look like flies - part 2
  • Official opening op 6 October 2018 at 19.00
  • 7 – 23 October 2018, from 11.00 until 17.00, except on Mondays
  • Cruise Terminal, Ernest Van Dijckkaai/Steenplein, 2000 Antwerp
  • Free of charge
  • Organisation: Thomas Verstraeten in collaboration with Detheatermaker with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact persons: Elsemieke Scholte, and Thomas Verstraeten,


Atelier – tg STAN, De Koe and Maatschappij Discordia

In ‘Atelier’ Peter Van den Eede (de KOE), Matthias de Koning (Maatschappij Discordia) and Damiaan De Schrijver (tg STAN) further convert their research into the arena of actors. As such, they further build up the foundations of their iconic production Vandeneedevandeschrijvervandekoningendiderot (2001).

Do scene makers such as sculptors and painters already have a studio or not to put their ideas into materials, and if so, what does that studio look like? What and where and how and when and why do we work? Is it working? How do we sketch out characters? What do we put in the paint? Are we a tableau? Are we our own and each other's model? Are we a self-portrait?

To see and be seen, the history, the art, life as context, gusset windows, lists for the expressions on the canvas of our skin. In a bi-frontal arrangement, the fourth wall is re-constructed and broken down again. A laboratory research of naturalism, realism and hyper-realism.

With 'Atelier' tg STAN, De Koe and Maatschappij Discordia deliver visual theatre that departs from the empty space. Without words, the public is carried along on an unforgettable, aesthetic expedition, a whirlwind of emotions and movement.

Practical information

  • Atelier – tg STAN, De Koe and Maatschappij Discordia
  • 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26 and 27 October 2018, each time at 20.00
  • Tempel, Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Mutsaardstraat 31, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 16 / € 8
  • Organisation: tg STAN, De Koe and Maatschappij Discordia in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Antwerp with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Ellen Asaert,,

B.O.X & MartHa!tentatief: Lulletje

Lulletje is a theatrical concert about love and fear in uncertain times. Johan Petit (MartHa!tentatief) and Pieter Theuns (B.O.X) try to solve the problems of our times. What to do now that the world lies at our feet? Johan tells the story, and Pieter, along with Jutta Troch and Jon Birdsong take care of the music.

‘Lulletje’ is in avant-première at miXmass, a festival that B.O.X organised with and at deSingel. In the context of 'Antwerp Baroque 2018', the performance is worked out further for a tour at the Antwerp Cultural Centres. The surprisingly modern sound colours of B.O.X and the timeless narration of Johan Petit promise to deliver wonderful evenings whereby old and new melt into here and now.

Johan Petit creates performances under the banner of the MartHa!tentatief, a theatre troupe that has for years now worked on urban themes, with accessible, often festive and of course relevant performances as a end result.

Pieter Theuns is the leader of Baroque Orchestration X, a collective that plays antique instruments such as the harp, viola da gamba, cornetto and theorbo. They work together with contemporary artists from the indie music scene. And thus they tear down the walls of sound between old and new, pop and classical, local and international.

Practical information:

  • Lulletje – B.O.X and MartHa!tentatief
  • 27, 28 and 29 September, 6, 11, 25 and 27 October and 16 November 2018
  • On tour at the cultural centres of Antwerp and the Saint Paul's church
  • Check out for ticket prices and the complete playlist.
  • Organisation: B.O.X and MartHa!tentatief with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Els Kortleven,


Tropoi XXL – Theater FroeFroe

Theater FroeFroe presents a unique, extended version of their celebrated top performance ‘Tropoi’ in which the main role is played by Late-Medieval and Baroque music. ‘Tropoi XXL’ is playing for the first time on location in Antwerp and is receiving an extra musical upgrade. The orchestra is fortified with the foreign talent of Andrea De Carlo from the Ensemble Mare Nostrum in Rome. ‘Tropoi XXL’ is a guarantee for an evening full of music and puppet poetry for everyone ages ten years and up.

Inspired by the historical novel 'Melodieën' by Helmut Krausser, who is also called he German Umberto Eco no less. The story deals with the power and the magic of music. The lute is the chief instrument of the main character Castiglio, an alchemist in the Italian court. As the king's son one day asks him how it is that people become happy or sad through music, Castiglio want to unravel the secret language of music and to make everyone happy. This is the beginning of an adventurous quest for the magic of music.

‘Tropoi’ (2013) received a great deal of acclaim and was the first "figure-theatre performance" that the Theaterfestival brought in. The Festival of Flanders also previously programmed this special performance that places music at the centre, as was in the story as the soundscape.

Practical information

  • Tropoi XXL – Theater FroeFroe
  • 7, 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 21, 22 and 23 September 2018, each night at 20.00
  • Blikjesfabriek Hoboken,  corner Lage Weg/Krugerstraat, 2660 Antwerp
  • € 16 / € 12 / € 10
  • Organisatie: Theater FroeFroe with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Evelien Alles,,


Le Grand Ballet – Zonzo Compagnie

Anno 1715, Versailles. In the private chambers of the Sun King, a remarkable ritual plays out. A hundred or so guests are witness to the creation of a new work for viola da gamba and continuo by court composer Marin Marais. The king at first listens reservedly, but then begins to move slowly to the surprise of the loyal public. The court retinue has no other choice than to follow and to closely imitate the king. A strange choreography to the music begins: something between yoga lessons, Baroque court dance and a stately aerobics class. The king and his noble following ultimately get into it so much here that the music no longer seems to apply. The musicians in turn decide to follow the choreography and set it to sound. And so comes about never-before heard music, with thanks to the exchange between the musicians and the public.

Anno 2018, Antwerp. Especially for the cultural city festival 'Antwerp Baroque 2018', Zonzo Compagnie & Ictus Ensemble of French contemporary composer Frédéric Verrières, engage themselves in a masterful way with the oeuvre that was created for viola da gamba by Marin Marais.  On the list of accomplishments of Verrières are special re-interpretations of old scores by Bach and Verdi, but also from Flamenco and African rhythms.

‘Le Grand Ballet’ is a performance without words at which the public is invited to dance. Sometimes they move to the sounds of the music, but sometimes it seems that the choreography is leading a life of its own and is up to the musicians to follow along. With this groundbreaking participative performance, Zonzo Compagnie and Ictus Ensemble open the doors to a diverse audience.

Practical information

  • Le Grand Ballet – Zonzo Compagnie
  • 1 November 2018 during the BIG BANG Festival in deSingel, exact time shall follow.
  • deSingel, Desguinlei 25, 2018 Antwerp
  • € 7 / € 5
  • Organisatie: Zonzo Compagnie in collaboration with. Ictus Ensemble and Concertgebouw Brugge with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Ellen De Bruyne,,

Gigue! – Fameus

Fameus vzw, incubator for amateur arts, requests young and old to dance with ‘Gigue!’. With ‘Shaken not stirred’ (2017) and ‘Matching Bodies’ (2016) Fameus previously put already impressive (amateur) dance projects on the big screen of CC Berchem.

In 2018, Fameus teamed up with a large group of dances of all ages and dance styles with the theme of 'Baroque'. From various dance styles a contemporary complement to Baroque was sought for along with professional choreographers and a great deal of dancers.

After signing up via an open call, the dancers (minimum age of 15 years old) struggled through two intensive boot camps under expert guidance. The eclectic result is to be presented during a show time for a large audience on 18 November 2018. Registration beginning 4 June up to and including 15 September 2018 via

Practical information

  • Gigue! – Fameus
  • Registration beginning 4 June up to and including 15 September 2018 via
  • Boot camps are taking place on 10 and 11 November and from 16 up to and including 18 November 2018.
  • Show time on 18 November 2018, ongoing from 14.00 until 20.00. Check for the exact starting times.
  • Het Oude Badhuis, Stuivenbergplein 38, 2060 Antwerp
  • € 4 / € 2
  • Organisation: Fameus in collaboration with Het Oude Badhuis and IetStof with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Shamisa Debroey,

B’rok d’Anvers 'thevirtuallyguidedexperiencetour-level1'

– De Kleine Expeditie

On the occasion of 'Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires’ De Kleine Expeditie is launching a new theatrical, storytelling walk. ‘B’rok d’Anvers, thevirtualguidedexperiencetour-level1’ is an exclusive journey on the border between fiction and reality. A game in the public space where paintings come to life. A unique and durable experience whereby the public is moved, animated and stimulated. Baroque is back! And how!

Claire and Antoon De Schepper have the Groot Barokkiaans Genootschap Inc. established in the commemoration of their father. Brother and sister have the same goal as their father: to once again connect the contemporary resident of Antwerp with its Baroque roots. The welcome everyone to the Brabantse Olijfberg from where their father also organised his activities 42 years ago. The De Schepper children are now showing their actions on the corners, on the plazas and the streets of the city. Today, they are drawing their inspiration from virtual technology and they are launching for the first time this unique 'Baroque experience'.

“Baroque is out of the ordinary. Baroque sheds light on what is dark. Thus the most normal things suddenly take on depth, a shadow, an emotion. It sets things into motion and brings them to life. I find it insanely formidable how Baroque gets me to start playing. Welcome to the spectacle of life.” (Leo De Schepper, May 1976)

Practical information

  • B’rok d’Anvers – De Kleine Expeditie
  • 2 en 3 June, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28 and 29 July 2018, each day at  10, 10.30, 11, 13.30, 14, 14.30, 15 en 15.30 (duration: 90 minutes)
  • Starting point: Brabantse Olijfberg (former Annunciation church), Lange Winkelstraat 5, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 10
  • Organisation: A production of De Kleine Expeditie with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Nathalie Goossens,, Aline Nuyens,, Dominique Van de Zande,
  • In Dutch English upon request

4. Walks

In Rubens’ footsteps

A newly developed walk takes you past the monumental churches of Antwerp, which all have a strong and inseparable bond with Peter Paul Rubens. Allow yourself to be guided through these places of worship and follow Rubens' rise from an eager, talented pupil to a brilliant, versatile artist, the expansion of his network in Antwerp and far beyond and both the festive and mournful moments he experienced with his family. Be enthralled by the overwhelming masterpieces that Rubens created for the splendid decoration of these churches and get to know the contexts of their creation. These religious commissions served as propaganda for the Counter-Reformation, which was designed to restore Catholic faith, while also sealing Rubens’s reputation as a gifted artist.

This biographical discovery tour can be downloaded via the Antwerp Museum App or as a guided walk along a selection of three churches with a choice of two routes. The ‘Rubens' rise’ route starts in the Saint Andrew's church, then halts in the Cathedral of Our Lady and ends in the Saint Charles Borromeo's church. The ‘Rubens' prosperity’ route starts in the Saint Paul's church, then halts in the Cathedral of Our Lady and ends in the Saint James's church.

Practical information

Rubens' rise for groups

  • 1 June – 31 October 2018, from Monday to Saturday, every day at 14.00 (duration: 150 minutes)
  • Starting location: main portal of the Saint Andrew's church, Waaistraat 5, 2000 Antwerpen
  • € 105 (excl. entrance fees)
  • Languages: NL, FR, EN, DE, ES, IT (according to availability)
  • Organisation: MKA with the support of the City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contact person: Marieke D’Hooghe, marieke.d’
  • Rubens' rise for individuals
  • Every fourth Saturday from June to October, every day at 14.00
  • Cost: € 8 p.p. (excl. entrance fees)
  • Language: NL

Rubens' prosperity for groups

  • 1 June – 31 October 2018, from Monday to Sunday, every day at 14.00 (duration: 150 minutes)
  • Starting location: Saint Paul's church, gatehouse on the corner of the Veemarkt and the Zwartzustersstraat, 2000 Antwerp
  • € 105 (excl. entrance fees)
  • Languages: NL, FR, EN, DE, ES, IT (according to availability)
  • Organisation: MKA with the support of the City of Antwerp and Visit Flanders
  • Contact person: Marieke D’Hooghe, marieke.d’
  • Rubens' prosperity for individuals
  • 9 June and every first Saturday from August until October 2018, every day at 14.00
  • Cost: € 8 p.p. (excl. entrance fees)
  • Language: NL


Baroque stirs

Antwerp is the Baroque capital of the Low Countries. You will find Baroque there on the streets and in rich interiors. Gluttonous, surprising, exuberant, theatrical. 'Baroque stirs' is the ideal introduction for a group visit to the city festival 'Antwerp Baroque 2018'. A guide sketches the rich history of imposing façades, magnificent doors and richly decorated images in enjoyable anecdotes. The visit is not limited to 'old stuff'. Contemporary Baroque also receives the attention that it deserves. Get to know the most colourful wall paintings in the city. And, you will get all of the information that you want about all events (now and in the future) that Antwerp lets shine as the Baroque city.

Practical information

Baroque Shock: a limited edition

This group walk connects the two most beautiful Baroque churches of Antwerp with each other: Saint Carolus Borromeus and the former Saint Augustine church, which now houses the music centre aMuz. Walking, you will experience how the Baroque remained for centuries and continues to resonate in the city.   You will notice this with magnificent façades in opulent rococo, showy Neo-Baroque and imposing Beaux-Arts. As the icing on the cake: an exclusive visit to the music centre aMuz, for an encounter with Jan Fabre's newest work. Fabre created three new panels for the altarpieces of Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens and Anthony van Dyck, whihc once adorned the church.

Practical information

  • 1 June – 31 December 2018
  • You can find exact starting times at  (duration: 120 minutes)
  • Starting Point: Hendrik Conscienceplein, 2000 Antwerpen
  • € 75 per guide, max. 20 participants per guide
  • Organisation: Visit Antwerpen
  • Contact person: Anja De Roeck,


5. Lectures


On the occasion of the cultural city festival 'Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens Inspires’ training institute Amarant is spoiling interested parties with an exuberant lecture programme.

In 'Baroque for beginners' the basic principles of the Baroque are laid out for the audience. In other lectures, the confrontation of the historical Baroque with contemporary art,   the portrait of the female Baroque artist Michaelina Wautier and themes such as food, the changing world image and the studio practice of the seventeenth century shall be investigated on a deeper level.

Practical information

  • Amarant lecture series
  • More information and registration via
  • Organisation: Amarant
  • Contact person: Anne De Cock,


The Rubenianum is the pre-eminent expertise centre of Flemish art from the 16th and 17th centuries. For its lecture series, it is inviting experts from Belgium and abroad as speakers.

During the Rubenianum Lectures 2018 on Sunday mornings, the Antwerp Academy and contemporaries of Rubens will be dealt with on a deeper level.

During the lecture series 'Rubens and Society, Then and Now' in the fall on Thursday evenings, Abigail Newman speaks about the world of Rubens with themes such as 'communication', 'world literature', 'diplomacy' ...  and compares that with the world of today.

Practical information

  • Rubenianum lecture series
  • More information on and  registration via
  • Organisation: Rubenianum
  • Contact person: Harlinde Pellens,

Saint Paul's

In the context of ‘Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens Inspires’ Saint Paul's church is organising a lecture series called 'Begeester(en)de barok'. Professionals from the field of art history illuminate the Saint Paul's church in its Baroque context through their area of expertise.

Practical information

  • Lecture series ‘Begeester(en)de barok’ – Saint Paul's
  • More information at and registration via
  • Organisation: Saint Paul's church
  • Contact person: Marieke D’Hooghe, marieke.d’


6. Festival

Festive opening weekend

From Friday 1 through and including Sunday 3 June, the public can immerse itself in the world of the Baroque during the grand opening weekend of 'Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens Inspires'. A three-day long festival within the festival with an abundance of parties, performances, concerts and exhibitions.

A logical start for the opening weekend is a visit to the house of the host for this city festival. In The Rubens House  one can discover who Rubens really was and why he is still a source of inspiration as well. One also learns about Rubens as an architect there. Concerts, speed tours, children's studios and ascents of the veranda are slated on the agenda.

In the MAS the visitor gets to know everything about 'Michaelina', the leading lady of 17th-century painting. One can visit the exhibition in all serenity or with dancing during the 'Silent Disco'. The MAS boulevard also bathes in Baroque atmosphere with new works by Antwerp photographer Athos Burez and stimulating DJ-sets. And, because Baroque simply means 'excess', the new fixed exhibition 'Feest!' opens as well and gets visitors into the right mood with music from the original Decap organs.

In the M HKA curator Luc Tuymans overwhelms the visitor with international masterpieces in the exhibition 'Sanguine | Bloedrood'. Music sessions for babies and toddlers, family tours and studios are likewise on the festival programme. With a concert by ‘viola da gamba meets electronica’-virtuoso Liam Byrne as the icing on the cake.

With the summer exhibition ‘Experience Traps’ of the Middelheim Museum young and old can literally (!) come be inspired by the artwork 'Sacrilege', a blow-up, life-size replica of Stonehenge by artist Jeremy Deller. A contemporary Baroque celebration is there waiting for visitors with surprising works of art, activities and performances, tours, food trucks and DJ's.

In the centre of Antwerp the public can (re)discover the Baroque treasures in The Rubens House or in the five Monumental churches. The graffiti artists Yvon Tordoir (Antwerp), Astro (Paris), Smug (Glasgow) and El Mac (Los Angeles) provide a more contemporary zest to the festival. Under the title 'Baroque Murals' they began on 8 May with installing very large wall paintings in secret locations.

The opening weekend of the Baroque festival closes on Sunday evening on 3 June in style at the Hendrik Conscienceplein. In front of the Saint Charles Borromeo's church there are free concerts by the Danish indie rock gods of Efterklang, in collaboration with the Antwerp musicians collective Baroque Orchestration X (B.O.X), Dez Mona and the choir of Tutti Fratelli, among others.

Practical information

  • Festive opening weekend
  • 1 - 3 June 2018
  • The Rubens House, MAS, M HKA, Middelheim Museum, the monumental churches of Antwerp and the historic city centre.
  • Organisation: City of Antwerp with the support of Visit Flanders
  • Contact person: Mia Prce,


Festival Royal

From 31 August until 2 September, Permeke is presenting an excellent artistic festival in the library as well  as on the Coninckplein. It is a three-day festival with image, words and music, with aroma and colour, taste and entertainment.

On the first day, young upcoming artistic talent take over the De Coninckplein with a  mix of hip hop, ethereal dream and old Baroque music. Participating names are 3mad, Iamgunz, Davone, Tweeëntwintig, Seefsound, Cristina Sapalo, Zone 54 and Spitler. In the evening, the Baroque wall painting shall come into being in August during the graffiti master class under the approving eye of Graffiti vzw and Yvon Tordoir. The closer for the evening is B.O.X featuring Brihang & Tsar B, a co-production by B.O.X,  Permeke and Het Wilde Westen. The combination with and the contrast between strong, verbal, deeply-rooted, authentic and charismatically delivered Flemish Rap with the rather lyrical, romantic and yet formidable singing of Tsar B forms an exciting and adventurous recipe. Even in the relatively small cast, the Baroque instruments of B.O.X frame this duo with a hybrid and contemporary 'basso continuo' tapestry of sound. In the Permeke library, the exhibition ‘Family Tables’ of the renowned photographer Tony Le Duc opens. He makes images of family traditions and culinary diversity from the area. The exhibition is graced by an exclusive 'Das wohltemperierte DJ-set'. Natashia Kelly and Brice Soniano are giving a mini concert as a warm-up for their performance in the Nottebohmzaal on 2 September (see music).

On the second day, Behoud de Begeerte, under the name of 'Abondance' makes an homage to Baroque writers such as Pjeroo Roobjee, Delphine Lecompte and Jean Marie Berckmans. For that matter, on Sunday evening 'De man die zijn snor in brand stak' premiers about the life of Berckmans. Gourmands can shuffle on over to the Diner Royal in the evening for a seven-course menu served by Daphne Aalders of Food for Foodies. Afterwards, the tables are set aside for a try-out of 'Lucifer' by De Bronstige Bazookas, under the leadership of Thomas De Prins, Andy Fierens and Michaël Brijs. To conclude, we finish the day with the masked Bal Royal.

The third and last day of Festival Royal is geared towards families. The performances of Sinjor Circo and theatre company ensure for a Baroque celebration for young and old.

Practical information

  • Festival Royal – Permeke
  • 31 August until 2 September 2018
  • Bib Permeke, De Coninckplein, 2060 Antwerp
  • Free of charge on 31 August and 2 September 2018
  • Seven-course dinner 1 September: € 55 (only in presale)/ € 10 VTE (limited places)
  • You will find formulas for 1 September at 
  • Organisation: bib Permeke
  • Contact person: Christel Kumpen,


This is Baroque – Leave Us At Dawn x This is Antwerp

‘Leave Us At Dawn’ is a unique, cultural festival concept that brings art and culture to a large audience in a completely personal way. This time, Leave Us At Dawn contends that Baroque is still running through the veins of the Antwerpclub scene. Their city ball promises to be a prestigious party! From hip hop, jazz, contemporary dance, cocktail culture, fashion, photography, drag-queen culture to deep underground. All of them have one thing in common: a Baroque excess of form and content. A once in a lifetime experience that continues until dawn.

Practical information

  • This is Baroque – Leave Us At Dawn x This is Antwerp
  • Date, location, line-up and more details at
  • Organisation: Caravan with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Wolfram Ghesquière,


Game of Tones Festival

The music festival ‘Game of Tones’ makes a bridge between sounds from the classical and electronic music genres. The musicians work with long, repeating melodies, rather than with strophes or refrains. It is a musical game whereby you can sit, listen and let your imagination run free. ‘Game of Tones’ takes place in the Saint Willibrord's church, under the watchful eye of Saint Willibrord's painted by Peter Paul Rubens. Names such as the Amsterdam Gamelan Ensemble Widorsari, organist-teacher Luc Ponet, the duo MITTLAND OCH LEO, Miaux and Steven De Bruyne adorn the playbill. With after party in the Pekfabriek.

Practical information

  • Game of Tones Festival
  • 15 – 17 November 2018, every day beginning at 20.00 (with after party on 17 November)
  • Saint Willibrord's church, Pastorijstraat 2, 2060 Antwerp
  • € 21
  • Organisation: 5 voor 12 with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Sven Mes,

Baroque Is Not Dead! – Vonk and Zonen

Baroque Is Not Dead! is a one-day cultural festival in the spirit of the Baroque. A unique and excellent multi-disciplinary festival, a contemporary, magnificent and sensational tribute to the inspiring beauty of Baroque.

Baroque Is Not Dead! challenges contemporary artists to view today through Baroque lenses. Sarabande meets urban dance. Beats on a bed of harpsichord. Verses of Vondel from contemporary mouths. Baroque Is Not Dead! brings us to the heydays of the Baroque and at the same time says much about the present day. The drive for something greater, something higher, always craving and continuing to hope. Baroque Is Not Dead! splashes from the courtly lust for life. Celebrates the splendour and glory of the Baroque language. Honours the body as a temple. Creates ointments of sound for searching souls. During one eternal evening, a Universum Tremendum et Fascinans unfolds in the heart of the city. The best (inter)national musicians, performers, writers and dancers are creating and composing new work especially for this occasion. Unique collaboration with a single, ultimate higher goal: emotional ecstasy, total rapture of body and soul. A tantalising polyphony of song, dance and language.

Practical information

  • Baroque Is Not Dead! – Vonk and Zonen
  • 24 November 2018 beginning at 20.00
  • DE Studio, Maarschalk Gerardstraat 4, 2000 Antwerp
  • You will find more information at
  • Organisation: VONK en Zonen with the support of the City of Antwerp
  • Contact person: Lotte Dodion,,


7. Rubens inspires Antwerp artisans


Not only artists, but also Antwerp bakers, butchers, cheese makers, brewers, tea specialists, distillers, chocolate makers and biscuit makers create an ode to the master with special editions of their products.

Bakkerij Goossens, an institute in Antwerp, sought out inspiration in recipe books from the 17th century and are announcing a Baroque bread with accompanying bread sack. Het Toontje, the successful predecessor of the Baroque bread, which Bakkerij Goossens added for the Van Dyckjaar in 1999, is still purchasable every Friday as well.

De Koninck, the city brewery of Antwerp par excellence, is developing a small four-pack for their Tripel d'Anvers, labelled in the colours and style of the Baroque festival.

Students of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts are inspired by the theme of the Baroque. The results are six unique designs, from t-shirts to a gym bag, produced by PAS Print.

The cheese maker Van Tricht expresses his craftsmanship with his beer cheeses, amongst others. For the Tripel d’Anvers Van Tricht is making a tasty cheese ball.

Rosebuds and flower tea, two varieties from the assortment of Lulin teas, are given a new appearance especially for Antwerp Baroque 2018. As with all Lulin teas, they are produced with craftsmanship: plucked and processed by hand.

Chocolate maker Jitsk chooses the Rubensreep for the full flavour of spices and dried fruit. The result is 100% taste, with a luxurious assessment.

The Antwerp handjes, the most famous biscuits of the city, are receiving Baroque limited edition, packaged in a personalised box.

Whoever says Rombouts, immediately thinks about quality, high-value coffee. The Antwerp company is delivering the Rubens-blend coffee especially for Antwerp Baroque 2018 as a unique product.

HAVN is bringing out a special edition with four tasters of different gins, inspired by four world ports: Marseilles, Bangkok, Copenhagen and … Antwerp.

The Butcher’s Store found an old-Flemish recipe for a beer sausage with the taste of a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg. It is made from Zeeuws- Vlaams Duroc pork meat and is prepared, smoked upon oak and beechwood and then dried in an authentic way.

Elixir d’Anvers shall still be made according to the old tradition, prepared on the basis of numerous plants and herbs from around the world, which gives the drink a unique flavour. The Baroque limited edition is matured in special barrels.

Antwerp’s Most Brilliant: Nico Taeymans, Rudiam and Gerhild Kirchner, three jewellers from Antwerp’s Most Brilliant, are each designing a jewel especially for the Baroque festival with a Baroque signature: elegant en flamboyant. Gerhild Kichner is inspired by the opulent frames of Baroque paintings and created a broach in the form of a frame. For Mike Rombout van Rudiam Rubens is the incarnation of the spirit of Baroque. He made a design inspired by the little angels from Rubens' Annunciation. In addition to a series of earrings, Nico Taeymans designed remarkable necklace. This exceptional piece of jewellery is set with white and red coral, pearl, rhinestones, smoky quartz and carnelian.

Standaard Uitgeverij also felt the Baroque fever and pulled the album 'De Raap van Rubens' of Suske and Wiske - originally published in honour of the Rubens' year in 1977 - from the dustbins and made a brand-new reissue of it.

Beginning in June, these Baroque-Antwerp regional products are available in the Antwerp city shop, museum shops and the pop-up Bar Barok (Nationalestraat 45). The comic book is also on sale in the bookstore.

Overview of retail outlets:

  • Bar Barok/Antwerp City Brewery, Nationalestraat 45, open from 15/5 until 15/9 from 11 am until 7 pm. You can taste and buy the products here!
  • Visit Antwerp, Grote Markt 13
  • Rubens House, Wapper 9-11
  • MASshop, Hanzestedenplaats 1
  • Middelheim Museum, Middelheimlaan 61
  • Plantin-Moretus Museum, Vrijdagmarkt 22
  • Mayer van den Bergh Museum, Lange Gasthuisstraat 19
  • De Koninck city brewery, Mechelsesteenweg 291
  • Antwerp flYshop, Luchthavenlei
  • Flandersshop, Grasmarkt 61, Brussels
  • M HKA, Leuvenstraat 32
  • FOMU, Waalsekaai 47
  • Snijders&Rockox House, Keizerstraat 10-12
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About Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires

The cultural city festival “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires” pays tribute to Peter Paul Rubens and his baroque, cultural legacy. Rubens was one of the most influential artists ever and is still widely regarded as Antwerp’s most famous inhabitant. He is the personification of the Baroque and continues to be an important source of inspiration, for contemporary artists and for the atypical lifestyle of the city of Antwerp and its population. “Antwerp Baroque 2018” tells the story of the Baroque, then and now, establishing a dialogue between the historic Baroque and contemporary artist, using the city and the world as a backdrop. “Antwerp Baroque 2018. Rubens inspires” is a key event in the Flemish Masters programme, which is organised by VISITFLANDERS. Combining artistic individuality with genuine hospitality, the festival promises to be uniquely extraverted. From June 2018 until January 2019 in Antwerp.